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  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain (L) follows the safety car during the race. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
  • Image Credit: Nacho Doce / Reuters
APTOPIX Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • APTOPIX Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, leads during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen of Finland competes. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
  • Image Credit: Nacho Doce / Reuters
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, of Germany, steers his car during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, left, and teammate Nico Rosberg, of Germany, steers their cars past debris of the car of Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, of Finland, during the qualifying session Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Manor driver Pascal Wehrlein, of Germany, front, and Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson, of Sweden, steers their cars during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his car followed by teammate Nico Rosberg during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • McLaren driver Jenson Button, of Britain, steers his car during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands (L) and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen of Finland compete. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
  • Image Credit: Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain, front, heads into the pits followed by teammate Nico Rosberg of Germany during a pause in racing due to heavy rainfall, during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (Paulo Whitaker/Pool via AP)
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Williams' Felipe Massa of Brazil competes. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
  • Image Credit: Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • The safety car leads followed by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, and teammate Nico Rosberg after a rainy start for the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
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Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Renault driver Kevin Magnussen, of Denmark, steers his car during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
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Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his car during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, steers his car during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, of Netherlands, spins during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • The pace car leads the others in the pit lane during a pause in racing due to heavy rainfall, during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (Paulo Whitaker/Pool via AP)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, leads followed by teammate Nico Rosberg after the start of the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, of Finland, steers his car followed by teammate Sebastian Vettel during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen of Finland competes. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
  • Image Credit: Nacho Doce / Reuters
APTOPIX Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • APTOPIX Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • A track official collects debris from a car during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Williams driver Felipe Massa, of Brazil, crashes during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • The car of Williams driver Felipe Massa, of Brazil, after he crashed during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • A car passes by a warning signal during heavy rainfall at the race during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (Paulo Whitaker/Pool via AP)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Williams' Felipe Massa of Brazil wears his country's flag over his shoulders and is followed by his wife and son as he is greeted by members of the Ferrari team after he had to withdraw from the race due to car problems. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
  • Image Credit: Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - McLaren's Fernando Alonso of Spain competes ahead of Williams' Valtteri Bottas of Finland. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
  • Image Credit: Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain (L) competes under heavy rainfall. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
  • Image Credit: Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Force India's Sergio Perez of Mexico competes. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
  • Image Credit: Nacho Doce / Reuters
Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, celebrates winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
APTOPIX Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • APTOPIX Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, celebrates on his car after winning the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain raises his trophy during the victory ceremony after winning the race as second placed finisher and teammate Nico Rosberg of Germany (L) and third placed finisher Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands look on. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
  • Image Credit: Nacho Doce / Reuters
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands celebrates after finishing third in the race. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
  • Image Credit: Nacho Doce / Reuters
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  • MOTOR-F1-BRAZIL/
  • Formula One - F1 - Brazilian Grand Prix - Circuit of Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil - 13/11/2016 - Race winning Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (C) is sprayed with champagne by third placed finisher Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands as teammate and second placed finisher Nico Rosberg of Germany (L) looks on during the victory ceremony REUTERS/Nacho Doce
  • Image Credit: Nacho Doce / Reuters
CORRECTION Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • CORRECTION Brazil F1 GP Auto Racing
  • CORRECTS BYLINE - Williams driver Felipe Massa, of Brazil, gives a thumb up to fans after the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. Massa announced he will retire from Formula One after this season. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine)
  • Image Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Rain and an old-school circuit are the antidotes to Formula 1's constricting technical regulations and Tilke tracks. At Brazil's Autódromo José Carlos Pace – otherwise known as Interlagos – rain Saturday night and on race day washed away everyone's careful plans, except for those of the man at the front of the pack.

Lewis Hamilton put his Mercedes-AMG Petronas ahead of the field throughout the weekend. On Sunday, a storm-delayed start behind the Safety Car assured Hamilton of a clean path to the lead and a clear track. The Briton didn't waste it, pulling out a gap on teammate Nico Rosberg behind, and Rosberg appeared to have no interest in going hard after Hamilton.

A track official collects debris from a car during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016.

Safety Cars and red flags kept resetting the gap to zero, though. After the Mercedes-AMG GT S led the first seven laps, it emerged again on Lap 13 for another six laps when Marcus Ericsson crashed his Sauber. Seconds after racing resumed, Kimi Räikkönen aquaplaned his Ferrari into the wall on the front straight. That caused the first red flag, leading to another eight-lap Safety Car interval, then a second red flag stoppage due to conditions on Lap 28, then three more Safety Car laps, and then, finally, racing again.

Hamilton never surrendered his lead. The Briton changed tires once during a stoppage, and drove fast enough to cover the full race distance despite the intermissions. Afterward, he said "it was a very easy race."

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain (L) competes under heavy rainfall.

Rosberg had it harder, defending against the preternatural Max Verstappen in third. Barring misfortune it's already clear the Red Bull pilot has at least one Driver's Championship in his career future. In Brazil the young Dutchman drove like he's worthy of the hardware right now. After Verstappen passed Rosberg for second on Lap 34, the Red Bull driver pitted for intermediate tires on Lap 44 – a huge gamble in the conditions – coming back out in fifth. That tire wager failed, giving Rosberg a safe position in second when Verstappen had to pit for extreme wets on Lap 54 of 71.

The teenager re-emerged in 16th. Over the race's final 17 laps Verstappen passed 13 drivers at six different places on track. He ran it close-but-clean a couple of times, especially when getting around Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez, but he was simply untouchable. Not only did the Dutchman score an amazing third place, he put in what could be the drive of the season.

Williams' Felipe Massa of Brazil wears his country's flag over his shoulders and is followed by his wife and son as he is greeted by members of the Ferrari team after he had to withdraw from the race due to car problems.

Behind him, Sergio Perez rewarded Force India with an excellent fourth place and increased the team's odds of finishing fourth in the Constructor's Championship. Sebastian Vettel finished fifth, after spending 15 laps trying to make a pass on Carlos Sainz and Sainz's year-old Ferrari engine in the Toro Rosso. Sainz, who looked good for fourth until the penultimate lap, followed Vettel home. Nico Hülkenberg battled back from an unlucky tire puncture to finish seventh in the second Force India, Daniel Ricciardo crossed the finish less than a second behind in the second Red Bull. Felipe Nasr gave Sauber an early Christmas present with ninth place, meaning the Swiss team leapfrogs Manor Racing in the Constructor's table. Fernando Alonso recovered from a big spin to finish tenth for McLaren. Romain Grosjean, Jolyon Palmer, and Felipe Massa were among those who crashed out. Grosjean did so on the formation lap, a blow to Haas F1 after making Q3. Massa's retirement allowed him to walk the pit lane in his final home race for Williams, an emotional moment for just about everyone not still driving.

With one race remaining there isn't much left to be decided. In the break since the Mexican Grand Prix, almost all the open seats were filled: Canadian Lance Stroll graduates from Formula 3 into a seat at Williams, Palmer stays at Renault, Palmer's current teammate Kevin Magnussen departs to Haas to replace Esteban Gutíerrez, and Manor's Esteban Ocon departs for Force India. Assuming Sauber holds steady and Manor retains Pascal Wehrlein, Manor has the only seat left.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton of Britain raises his trophy during the victory ceremony after winning the race as second placed finisher and teammate Nico Rosberg of Germany (L) and third placed finisher Red Bull's Max Verstappen of the Netherlands look on

At the front of the pack, with 12 points separating Rosberg from Hamilton in the Driver's Championship, Rosberg can finish third in Abu Dhabi to claim the title if Hamilton wins. Rosberg said this weekend that he'd continue racing for victories because "I want to win properly." However, after Rosberg urged other drivers to "drive within the limits," and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff called Max Verstappen's father Jos with a suggestion to ask Max not to do anything that would unduly cock up the Championship battle, we have a feeling Rosberg will take the same pragmatic approach in Abu Dhabi as he did in Brazil; after the race, Rosberg said, "I can live with second."

We'll find out in two weeks when the desert decides the season. We'll see you then.

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